By Sarah Sanderson, Managing Director, TGI, Kantar Media
The past couple of years have presented a cocktail of uncertainty for consumer businesses. 2024 will not be much different – there is no let up for sales and marketing teams who will continue to be called upon to be commercial alchemists as the economy remains delicate. The challenge will be to deliver maximum impact against tightening budgets, to not only keep existing audiences but to unlock new growth.
And the key lies with research specialists – we have to support our clients to move beyond traditional broad based segmentation and focus on audience groups who are shaped in different ways by larger macro-events or life circumstances. Data remains king, but we need to be smarter about how we mine it to tease out useful insight.
Take the cost of living as an example. It’s an ongoing crisis and masses of data has been generated trying to understand how it is affecting people. But to deliver a campaign that addresses and tries to alleviate the pain points being felt by people, we need that data to yield fresh insight. One way to do this is to look at the different cohorts that have been created by the resulting financial pressures and to better understand their circumstances. We found decisive differences within same age groups, dictated by whether they had a mortgage, or were renting, or lived at home with parents.
Because exposure to the housing market and mortgages (or lack of) is such a huge factor in most homeowners’ lives, we looked at the people who are due to renew their mortgage in the next twelve months. Our Great Britain TGI consumer data reveals that those aged 35-54 are far more mindful of the wider economic climate when it comes to their spending, compared to those in the same age group who own their home outright. 70% of these mortgage renewers agree that the economic outlook heavily affects their purchasing behaviour, compared to 49% of homeowners who are mortgage-free. This huge difference will surely dictate the way the two groups spend, save and invest.
Cutting up similar data in a different way, we found another contrast between groups’ ways of spending and saving. 40% of 21-30 year olds who are renting say they are no good at saving money, which is significantly higher than the of 33% of those in the same age group who live at home with their parents. Their ages may be similar, but these two cohorts will be decidedly different in their financial health and outlook.
These examples illustrate the gains that can be made if we skew the angle of our focus and go deeper into the subtleties of the data, to unpick people’s priorities and motivations. Rather than letting our clients go broad or wide with solely age or gender-based segmentation, we need to show them the value of taking into account additional external factors.
We also need to ensure the robustness and accuracy of the data that dictates their decisions – with tightening budgets, the margin for error is narrow. To this end, merging the richness of first-party and third-party datasets to create a clearer and more comprehensive picture of their consumer is the way forward.
The heightened economic volatility is being mirrored by rapidly evolving consumer behaviour, and it can feel hard to keep up at times. Understanding the influence of macro events on consumer audiences and what this means for impactful targeting is the way to protect business revenues. And it needs to involve nuanced, currency-grade data to tackle the challenges of 2024 head-on.